From the left, girlfriend Jessica diCristins, Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn, and parents Sue and Mike Pavelka stand as the casket is presented at Officer Matthew Pavelka's funeral on November 21, 2003.

From the left, girlfriend Jessica diCristins, Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn, and parents Sue and Mike Pavelka stand as the casket is presented at Officer Matthew Pavelka's funeral on November 21, 2003. (Times Community News / February 5, 2013)

Last summer, David Garcia was sentenced to life in prison for the 2003 murder of rookie Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka.

Pavelka and another officer, Gregory Campbell, had approached two men sitting in a car without a license plate in an area known for gang activity. Garcia immediately opened fire on the officers, killing Pavelka and severely injuring Campbell. Pavelka was only 26.

Garcia, a known gang member with an extensive criminal history, would not have passed a background check to buy a gun. He acquired the weapon he used to kill Pavelka from a "straw purchaser" — someone with no criminal record who could pass the background check and later illegally convey the weapon to someone who couldn't.

The background check system is meant to keep guns out of the hands of killers like Garcia, but it is all too often circumvented by straw purchasers who buy large quantities of guns and resell them.

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-- Rep. Adam Schiff